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One answer to the debate about how to present Palestrina’s curiously chaste settings of the Bible’s most sensual text may be to render them even more remote by prefacing them with Gregorian antiphons. This earnest Bavarian student outfit does just that in a rare complete recording, making a moderately plausible case which, however, completely misses the point in two ways: not only does it fail to take account of the (admittedly very solemn) jest intended by the supposedly penitent composer, but the group’s limited technical resources prevent them from fully expressing the floating, disembodied loftiness to which they clearly aspire. At their most effective when singing Gregorian Chant, everything else is undercooked. Some groups try to turn the heat up too far, but this interpretation is positively frigid.

Rebecca Tavener Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing